Remove the health surcharge on non-EU migrants

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Every year thousands of non-EU migrants leave their homes to come to UK in search of better prospects of jobs and education. Most, if not all, also take huge amounts of loan to fulfil their dreams. They strive their hardest to become valuable parts of the British society.

However, coming to UK is becoming increasingly difficult with every passing year. While we fully appreciate that leaving our countries and homes was at our own free will and that Her Majesty’s govt reserves the right to charge us the desired but justified fee for granting us access to this country and its resources, the enormous escalation of visa fee over the last few years has made it very difficult for some very intelligent brains from non-EU countries to come here and contribute effectively to this society. This ranges from much needed labour force to doctors, engineers, nurses, teachers, scientists and so on.

On top of it all the Tories govt, in a desperate attempt to fund the ever demanding NHS, blamed the non-EU migrants for being a burden on it. They have particularly targeted health tourists, who come to this country and illegally avail the NHS resources. While estimates about the actual amount spent on such patients can vary, we do appreciate that it is costing millions, if not billions, of pounds every year. What solution does the Tories govt come up with? Introduction of Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS).

For those who do not know Immigration Health Surcharge, to summarise it quickly every non-EU migrant was supposed to pay £200 for one year of stay in UK if he or she was on a work, spouse, dependent or a student visa. This means that for a family of 4 with one person being the sole bread winner, they would have to pay £2400 for 3 years of Tier 2 visa, which is the maximum amount of duration that they can get the visa for. All this money is in addition to the usual visa fee, which also runs in thousands. This IHS is inherently wrong for a very simple reason. Those who come here on a work visa pay National Insurance and taxes, much like anyone else in this country who is permanently settled or is a British national. They are entitled to NHS number and can legally avail all sorts of NHS resources. Their families are also entitled to such treatment, much like any permanently settled or a British National. Yet they have to pay an extra amount just because they are on a temporary visa.

Not only that but recently the govt has announced plans to double the IHS. This means that a family of 4 will now have to pay £4800 for 3 years of visa. This is extremely unfair and unjust.

We understand that NHS needs funding but we also believe that introducing IHS is ignoring the main reasons of underfunding and is putting an enormous burden on already struggling non-EU migrants. Our demand is that those immigrants as well as their dependents who are on a genuine work visa (Tier 1, Tier 2) and those students who have a part time job and can provide evidence of the job along with a NI number should be exempted from the IHS. Govt instead should concentrate more on how to prevent illegal health tourism and not force the genuine hard working immigrants the bear the brunt of it. The IHS is not only unjust, it is against the basic human rights, as govt is effectively charging our little kids for something that should be taken for granted by them.

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